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Thread: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Saudi Arabia is a theocratic monarchy. They use their money to spread religious fundamentalism throughout the Muslim world in direct opposition to American interests. Other than oil, they have nothing to offer. I'll grant you the existence of finely cultivated personal relationships, but those are simply means to an end, not valuable by themselves.
    That is an intense simplification that I'll expand upon in a moment.

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    Part of the problem lies in a genuine difference of interests. In Syria's sectarian conflict, Saudi Arabia has large stakes in the toppling of the Assad dictatorship. U.S. interests in the outcome of that conflict are peripheral.

    Nevertheless, part of the problem also lies in areas in which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have common interests. Assuring that Iran is not able to gain regional hegemony is a shared interest. Saudi Arabia is highly concerned about possible U.S. rapprochement with Iran, well ahead of Iran's actually making concrete and substantive accommodations related to its nuclear program. Israel shares similar concerns with respect to U.S.-Iran relations. The U.S. should leave the door open to an improvement in relations, but it must make clear that such improvement depends on Iran's making the necessary policy changes e.g., coming into compliance with its nuclear obligations. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are concerned that U.S. policy toward Iran is being driven more by hopes than concrete developments. Addressing those matters of common interest can mitigate the widening Saudi-U.S. gap.

    Another area of mutual interest is the U.S.-Egypt bilateral relationship. U.S. hesitation in the face of events there and its taking measures that potentially undermine Egypt's ability to restore stable governance has also alarmed Saudi Arabia. The U.S. urgently needs to develop a coherent and credible policy with respect to Egypt that reflects Egypt's regional importance and demonstrates to Saudi Arabia and others that the U.S. is, in fact, a reliable and understanding partner.

    Even as Saudi Arabia has become relatively less important to the U.S. given the rise in U.S. oil production, Saudi Arabia remains highly important to the U.S. and especially its allies in Europe and Asia.

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    That is an intense simplification that I'll expand upon in a moment.



    ....

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael66 View Post
    Your link tells us that fracking has pushed domestic oil production up 124,000 barrels a day. Is that significant when compared with the 20 million a day US consumption? Yes, there has been a decline in the US's imports but it's a long way from oil independence and will remain so. In fact, fracking is in question and that reflects the 124 thousand figure. Canada will continue to be your largest supplier but Saudi will too. That's the reason this issue is not being ignored.
    You misread the link: "Drilling techniques including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, pushed crude output up by 124,000 barrels, or 1.6 percent, to 7.745 million barrels a day in the seven days ended Sept. 6, the Energy Information Administration said today." It was part of the EIA's weekly energy update, not the annualized trend. In and of itself a 1.6% increase is actually rather extraordinary, in this context it is considerable.

    According to the EIA the US had an output of around 5,000,000 bbl/d in 2008 which has scaled to over 7,000,000 bbl/d (The EIA had it as high as 7.6 million as of August) so far this year. Some believe the US may breach the 8.0 mm/bbl mark this year. That is an extraordinary boost and it is impossible to discount.

    U.S. EIA says six shale areas account for almost all oil, gas output - UPI.com
    U.S. Field Production of Crude Oil (Thousand Barrels per Day)

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael66 View Post
    Your link tells us that fracking has pushed domestic oil production up 124,000 barrels a day. Is that significant when compared with the 20 million a day US consumption? Yes, there has been a decline in the US's imports but it's a long way from oil independence and will remain so. In fact, fracking is in question and that reflects the 124 thousand figure. Canada will continue to be your largest supplier but Saudi will too. That's the reason this issue is not being ignored.



    REad that carefully and understand it. There is a lot of politics involved in all these reports. In fact, it should be a little embarrassing to see the obvious attempt to obscure the main issue with this paragraph.
    I should also mention that Canada and Mexico are our largest suppliers, Saudi Arabia's share of our exports has consistently fallen over the past decade. Over the next few years they are likely to be eclipsed by Nigeria and (if production issues are resolved...) Venezuela.

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Saudi Arabia is a theocratic monarchy. They use their money to spread religious fundamentalism throughout the Muslim world in direct opposition to American interests. Other than oil, they have nothing to offer. I'll grant you the existence of finely cultivated personal relationships, but those are simply means to an end, not valuable by themselves.
    It is a more complex situation then it's made out to be. For all of its repressive attitudes toward religious freedom, press freedoms, and of course women's rights it also a highly developed state with extremely low levels of violence, a well funded welfare and support system, a high degree of economic and infrastructural development, and quite frankly an indigenous Monarchy that enjoys broad popular support. The al-Saud has had three iterations and their history dates back to the 18th Century, Imperialism nor Colonialism played any role in their coming to power.

    Saudi Arabia is a state that is as much governed by the existing attitudes of a strong conservative section of its people, as it is about the influence and rule of the Monarchy. There are definite limits to the ability of the al-Saud to pursue reform, that being said I think a very strong case can be made for a track record of progressive reform led from above and abetted by evolving social and political conditions.

    The agitators for democracy in Saudi Arabia at present come from a disingenuous Islamist network that has no real desire to see an Islamic democracy, only a chance to unseat the al-Saud, while at the other end of the spectrum you have a mishmash of minority liberals and Shia opponents. I think the situation is beginning to change as economic pressures mount, and the impact of globalized technology and culture expands its impact, but at present the greatest force for liberalization has come from the top down.

    However, yes it is true that the Saudi's exported Islamism. This began in the 1950's and 1960's as a means to combat the rise of Arab Socialist/Arab Republicanism which was being used as a weapon by likes of Nasser to subvert and destroy the Saudi state. The cold war between Saudi Arabia and Egypt has only been matched in recent times by the one between Iran and the Kingdom. To fortify their rule in the face of assassination attempts, proxy wars, and attempted coups the Saudi's retrenched their religious credentials and created a network of allied Islamist parties abroad. However, this is not the same as funding al-Qaeda. While their religious activities abroad of been brought under a severe international and domestic focus given the nature of our post 9/11 world.

    Historically Saudi Arabia has more often than not has been at the forefront of supporting US efforts in the region and abroad. They have backed and supported us in Afghanistan (twice), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yemen (complicated but arguably yes), Lebanon numerous times, Syria (with independent but congruent interests), Egypt (during the Cold War), Nicaragua, Iran, the Soviet Union, oil prices and crude ouput (quite often with OPEC), etc.

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Part of the problem lies in a genuine difference of interests. In Syria's sectarian conflict, Saudi Arabia has large stakes in the toppling of the Assad dictatorship. U.S. interests in the outcome of that conflict are peripheral.

    Nevertheless, part of the problem also lies in areas in which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have common interests. Assuring that Iran is not able to gain regional hegemony is a shared interest. Saudi Arabia is highly concerned about possible U.S. rapprochement with Iran, well ahead of Iran's actually making concrete and substantive accommodations related to its nuclear program. Israel shares similar concerns with respect to U.S.-Iran relations. The U.S. should leave the door open to an improvement in relations, but it must make clear that such improvement depends on Iran's making the necessary policy changes e.g., coming into compliance with its nuclear obligations. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are concerned that U.S. policy toward Iran is being driven more by hopes than concrete developments. Addressing those matters of common interest can mitigate the widening Saudi-U.S. gap.

    Another area of mutual interest is the U.S.-Egypt bilateral relationship. U.S. hesitation in the face of events there and its taking measures that potentially undermine Egypt's ability to restore stable governance has also alarmed Saudi Arabia
    . The U.S. urgently needs to develop a coherent and credible policy with respect to Egypt that reflects Egypt's regional importance and demonstrates to Saudi Arabia and others that the U.S. is, in fact, a reliable and understanding partner.

    Even as Saudi Arabia has become relatively less important to the U.S. given the rise in U.S. oil production, Saudi Arabia remains highly important to the U.S. and especially its allies in Europe and Asia.
    in bold, above ( and in general agreement with the post), Obmama recently suspended Egyptian military aid, this the same week there were mini-riots.

    Congress isn't pressing for suspension, no idea why he chose now, but it's seen as waffling on the US part, and cannot be anything but a boost to the Egyptian Msulim Brotherhood.

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    Well, he did promise he was going to get rid of every ally we had in the middle east....

    No...wait...that's not what he said...
    ”People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.” --- Ben Franklin

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    Sterotypes are mostly based on truths.

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    It is a more complex situation then it's made out to be. For all of its repressive attitudes toward religious freedom, press freedoms, and of course women's rights it also a highly developed state with extremely low levels of violence, a well funded welfare and support system, a high degree of economic and infrastructural development, and quite frankly an indigenous Monarchy that enjoys broad popular support. The al-Saud has had three iterations and their history dates back to the 18th Century, Imperialism nor Colonialism played any role in their coming to power.
    The Saudi state remains stable because everyone with power is given a cut of the oil revenue. They have avoided the usual revolutions from the oppressed lower classes by importing foreign labor who are utterly helpless politically. Its a reasonably clever system I'll admit, but only exists because of geographic luck regarding oil. Turkey was founded in the time period and they built a real functioning nation state with an actual economy.

    Saudi Arabia is a state that is as much governed by the existing attitudes of a strong conservative section of its people, as it is about the influence and rule of the Monarchy. There are definite limits to the ability of the al-Saud to pursue reform, that being said I think a very strong case can be made for a track record of progressive reform led from above and abetted by evolving social and political conditions.
    The Saudi's social policies are horrible, even by the standards of the region. Egypt, Syria and Iraq shine by comparison. Our relationship with the Saudi's is necessary under the circumstances, but lets not pretend it isn't an ugly compromise of our nations principles.

    The agitators for democracy in Saudi Arabia at present come from a disingenuous Islamist network that has no real desire to see an Islamic democracy, only a chance to unseat the al-Saud, while at the other end of the spectrum you have a mishmash of minority liberals and Shia opponents. I think the situation is beginning to change as economic pressures mount, and the impact of globalized technology and culture expands its impact, but at present the greatest force for liberalization has come from the top down.
    I'm not suggesting regime change or anything foolish like that.

    However, yes it is true that the Saudi's exported Islamism. This began in the 1950's and 1960's as a means to combat the rise of Arab Socialist/Arab Republicanism which was being used as a weapon by likes of Nasser to subvert and destroy the Saudi state. The cold war between Saudi Arabia and Egypt has only been matched in recent times by the one between Iran and the Kingdom. To fortify their rule in the face of assassination attempts, proxy wars, and attempted coups the Saudi's retrenched their religious credentials and created a network of allied Islamist parties abroad. However, this is not the same as funding al-Qaeda. While their religious activities abroad of been brought under a severe international and domestic focus given the nature of our post 9/11 world.
    The Taliban were taught in Saudi funded Madrasas during the soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They are certainly indirectly responsible for the increase in religiously motivated violence across the Muslim world. Aside from terrorism, they have exported gender discrimination even more successfully.

    Historically Saudi Arabia has more often than not has been at the forefront of supporting US efforts in the region and abroad. They have backed and supported us in Afghanistan (twice), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yemen (complicated but arguably yes), Lebanon numerous times, Syria (with independent but congruent interests), Egypt (during the Cold War), Nicaragua, Iran, the Soviet Union, oil prices and crude ouput (quite often with OPEC), etc.
    One should also remember the 1973 embargo. Having token political support is nice, but its not something you build a solid alliance around.

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    re: Saudi Arabia warns U.S. that policy on Syria, Iran straining decades-old [W:70]

    How so?

    Saudi Arabia needs us more than we need it. Canada and Mexico provide more oil to the US than they do.. (Canada on it's own rather does, but Mexico isn't far behind)Just have to make an adjustment here, an adjustment there, easy peasy, and Boom! We wash our hands of them... F-16's don't have a very long shelf life with no replacement parts sent to fix them.

    Their passive aggressive behavior with the US is getting kinda old in the first place. Give Israel the "good stuff" in equal proportion to what we've given the Saud's to boost their needs and then let the Saud's deal with the Iranian's and Iraqi's on their own. I'm sure the Shiite's would just love to control Mecca... Better yet, give Turkey the goods and encourage an Ottoman revival.

    Saudi Arabia is in no position to be making demands or dictating terms...

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